1. The Director-General of European Funds and State Aid of the Government of Catalonia, Aleix Cubells, has presented the conclusions of a second study from the Regions for EU Recovery initiative.
  2. Catalonia leads the initiative to strengthen and promote the role of regions in decision-making in the EU, aligning with the government's foreign action and the recovery at the highest level of dialogue with community institutions.

The Regions for EU Recovery (R4EUR) initiative, led by Catalonia and consisting of more than 30 regions from 9 EU member states, has presented its second "benchmark study" on the implementation of National Recovery and Resilience Plans and their impact on cohesion policy after 2027 in Brussels.

Aleix Cubells, the Director-General of European Funds and State Aid of the Government of Catalonia, presented the evaluation conclusions on the implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) in 15 regions of 8 EU states, conducted by R4EUR members. Cubells reiterated the "key role" of regions in both designing national recovery plans and future cohesion policy. He emphasized that the success of RRF funds will largely depend on regions becoming their driving force. He warned that without regional involvement, post-COVID Europe's decision-making would increasingly disconnect from the citizens. Cubells concluded, "As 'Regions for EU Recovery,' we believe it is time to reverse this."

The Director-General explained that the study highlights the "double centralization" of RRF funds, both from the EU and member states, disregarding the role of territories in their implementation and relegating them to mere "observers." He also pointed out the "high difficulty" for potential beneficiaries, especially municipalities and small and medium-sized enterprises, to access resources, and cautioned about a certain "risk of overlap" between RRF and other EU funds.

In conclusion, Cubells emphasized that regions should be considered "political actors" and advocated for implementing "multilevel governance in all EU policies and instruments." He suggested prioritizing "transformative projects," determining funding strategies, promoting transparency, and involving regional governments in future cohesion policy. He stated that if the European Union considers these recommendations, it could align investment priorities, accelerate implementation, enhance efficiency, and optimize current funding.

The presentation of the study was closed by Clara Serra, Deputy Representative of the Government of Catalonia to the EU, who reaffirmed the commitment to "continue progressing so that the future we are writing benefits citizens and the European project."

A demand from territories across Europe

Following an initial survey during the development of National Plans and publishing the results in 2020, the R4EUR initiative has presented the results of the second study. This second survey involved the participation of 15 regions from 8 EU member states.

For example, Helsinki in Finland, represented by Janne Leino, Director of the Helsinki EU Office, highlighted the importance of an initiative launched to have a stronger voice in Europe after the Covid crisis. This goal aligns with the objectives of the second study presented, aiming to influence the mid-term review of the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

Matthias De Moor, diplomatic representative of the Government of Flanders, expressed Flanders' active support for the involvement of regions in the European Semester and the Recovery and Resilience Facility.

Markku Markkula, Vice President of the Committee of the Regions and President of the Helsinki-Uusimaa region, spoke about the need to address global challenges and the role of governments closest to citizens. He emphasized the necessity for accelerated activities in climate change, mitigation and adaptation, and energy renewal, calling for deep and systemic transformations with EU cooperation.

Also from the Committee of the Regions, Rob Jonkman, rapporteur on the implementation of the RRM, stressed the importance of regions playing an active role in EU decision-making. He questioned how member states could overlook regions in the RRM process, neglecting the principles of multilevel governance and subsidiarity.

This perspective was shared by the European Economic and Social Committee, Javier Doz Orrit, rapporteur on the implementation of the RRF, stated the need for member states to release more information about projects implemented through the RRF, pointing out a lack of information in this area.

A debate with the European Commission

From the European Commission, Celine Gauer, the Director-General of the Recovery and Resilience Task Force, expressed optimism about the RRF's functioning. She explained that despite the need for governments closer to citizens to be more involved in the future, these reforms have been the best contribution to recovery, benefiting regions.

Sari Rautio, a member of the high-level expert group on the future of Cohesion Policy, highlighted the importance of clearly defining objectives for sustainable growth in Europe. She emphasized the ease of working together with different actors when goals are clearly defined.

Catalonia, the driving force behind the initiative

Regions for EU Recovery is an initiative created in 2020, driven by Catalonia, bringing together more than 30 regions from 9 EU member states (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, and Slovakia).

Aligned with the government's foreign action and the recovery of the highest level of dialogue with European actors, the initiative's main objective is to strengthen and promote the role of regions, as administrations closer to citizens, in decision-making in the EU in the post-Covid19 context.



Aleix Cubells, director general de Fons Europeus i Ajuts d'Estat

Aleix Cubells, director general de Fons Europeus i Ajuts d'Estat 190074


Attached files

Second benchmark study

Second benchmark study
PDF | 163606

Segon estudi de R4EUR

Segon estudi de R4EUR
PDF | 163606